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Possible programme structures

Media studies programmes can be structured in a variety of ways, for example, as linked courses over three full years, as one-year courses, or as short (modular or one-semester) courses.

A programme will be flexible enough to allow students to study media at any year level.

The key concepts and the learning objectives for media studies will be the foundation of inquiry, regardless of the type of course structure that you choose.

Some possible approaches to planning

  • Genre/medium-based approach: Choose a film genre with students and select film texts (feature and short films), including one or more from New Zealand. For example, to explore how mediation and communication concepts and how Māori and Pākehā are represented in New Zealand film texts, choose a range of short and feature films, such as Boy; Two Cars, One Night; and Once Were Warriors.
  • Thematic-based approach: With the class, select a relevant area of interest, such as popular culture, and co-construct over-arching questions based on the key concepts. Weave these questions through the study of a range of popular culture texts and issues, for example, music videos, magazines for teens and the cult of celebrity, privacy issues for teenagers using the Internet, advertising to the teen market, the soap opera and its relationship to teenagers, the New Zealand cartoon satire and its relationship to culture in New Zealand (for example, a comparison of Family Guy [USA] and bro’Town [NZ]), anime (the graphic novel and the comic), and illegal downloading as an issue for the media.
  • Interdisciplinary approach: Design an integrated course or module jointly with teachers of other subjects. For examples, refer to Integrated approaches to programme design.

Visit the media studies kete on TKI for further information and up-to-date resources and programmes.

Year planner

A year planner may include:

  • when modules of work will start and end
  • when assessments are due (or the final date for gathering evidence)
  • how the work fits around inevitable interruptions to the school year
  • possible dates for field trips, visiting speakers, and so on.

The sample year plan below is designed for level 2 learners but could be modified to accommodate level 1 learners.

Media Studies 2011 – Year 12 (NCEA Level 2) (PDF, 210 KB)

Term 1

Week 1 (beginning of course) student introductions

As an introductory activity, have students capture images of popular culture in their local or college community and upload them in class for discussion.

Weeks 2–6 (module 1): What is media?

  • Use the outcome of discussions to outline course assessments, deadlines, expectations, production activity, passwords for technology use, and access to websites or building website/blog pages.
  • Do close readings of selected media texts such as the Hollywood narrative films Yes Man versus The Butterfly Effect or short films such as Two Cars, One Night and link these to the ideas of celebrity (use blog or web page/journals).
  • Co-construct over-arching questions and modules of work based around the theme of popular culture (see below).

Connects to key concepts; learning objectives 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2; and achievement standards AS90990 1.2, AS91249 2.2.

Weeks 7–11 (module 2): Planning weeks for production activity

Connects to key concepts; learning objectives 6.3, 7.3, 8.3; and achievement standards AS90993 1.5, AS91252 2.5.

Term 2

Weeks 1–5 (module 3): Explore the cult of the celebrity in contemporary media

  • This exploration (What is the nature of celebrity – commercial vs personal?) could include magazine articles; television programmes such as E!; the Eonline website; music video programmes like C4; YouTube; television, magazine, documentary, and programmes such as 60 Minutes.

Connects to key concepts; learning objectives 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2; and achievement standards AS90991 1.3, AS91254 2.7.

Weeks 5–10/11 (module 4): Production activity

  • For example, create a magazine for a teenage audience using Adobe InDesign (group or single activity).

Connects to key concepts; learning objectives 6.1, 6.3, 7.1, 7.3; and achievement standards AS90994 1.6, AS90996 1.8, AS91253 2.6, AS91255 2.8.

Term 3

Weeks 1–5 (module 5): The representation of gender and race in music videos

  • Study selected music videos (YouTube, MTV, C4).
  • Practise essays on website/blog page/Moodle and co-construct essays.

Connects to key concepts; learning objectives 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2; and achievement standards AS90989 1.1, AS91248 2.1, AS91250 2.3.

Weeks 6–10/11 (module 6): Genre study

  • For example, study the soap opera, its relationship to teenagers, and changes over time.

Connects to key concepts, learning objectives 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 7.2; and achievement standards AS90992 1.4 (could also link to AS90990 1.2) and AS91251 2.4 (could also link to AS91249 2.2).

Term 4

Weeks 1–5

Reassessment opportunities and revision

Unit plans

When planning a unit, consider:

  • key media studies concepts
  • learning outcomes derived from the media studies learning objectives
  • applied contexts for this learning
  • assessment (diagnostic and formative), assessment for qualifications, and integrated assessment opportunities
  • values
  • key competencies
  • specialist vocabulary/terminology
  • resources.

A sample unit plan

Last updated June 14, 2018



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